Jerika Hutchins of Mount Shasta doesn’t hesitate when asked about her goals for this week’s USA Cycling National Championships in Bend, Ore.
“My goal is to win the time trial and road race,” she said in a phone conversation earlier this week from Bend, where she’s scheduled to compete in those events on Thursday and Friday, followed by a criterium on Sunday.
At racing age 19, this is Jerika’s first year competing in the division for riders under age 23 (U23). She also rides in the same field as Elite racers, although the two categories are scored individually.
She raced in France in the USA Cycling Development Program earlier this year, then placed second in the difficult Pescadero Road Race in the San Francisco Bay Area in June.
Also in June, Jerika earned praise from her Team TIBCO teammate Amber Rais for the work she did in helping Rais to a victory.
“Jerika was fantastic,” Rais was quoted as saying. “When she went to the front, there had been a split in the field and by the time she was done, the front group was down to just eight riders.”
As the youngest member of Team TIBCO, Jerika said on Monday, “It’s great when you get to support someone else; it’s a great feeling.”
Among the racers Jerika said she will be keeping an eye on as she goes for her national victories this week is Ally Stacher of Etna.
Racing in the male division at nationals will be another south county riders, Andy Beem.
Jerika, whose specialty is time trial racing, is seeking her first U23 win.
A victory, she said, “would be helpful for my future; it would be good lead-in to when I become an Elite racer (in 2012).”